Arles is a city on the Rhone River in Provence. It is famed for inspiring over 200 paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. Once a provincial capital of ancient Rome Arles has many remains from that era including the famous Arles Amphitheatre (Les Arenes d’Arles) which now hosts plays, concerts and bullfights.
Arles is now the gateway to the Camargue - land of the Gypsies and meeting place of the Camargue cowboys. Today the ferias or bull runs and bull fights are held in this very same arena that was the scene of the Roman games in the first century!
Van Gogh stayed here with his friend Gauguin. Picasso, a lover of bull fights, was inspired by them to do two paintings and 57 drawings...
The Roman monuments of Arles are registered with Unesco. The houses and private mansions of the 16th and 17th centuries, the cloister of St. Trophime, the Hôtel de Ville, and the shaded terraces of the Place des Lices are all worth visiting.
The old town centre is very pretty, with winding streets and side streets full of old houses built in grey limestone with pastel-coloured shutters and several nice shops and restaurants. Arles is a foodie heaven and there are many excellent restaurants.
There are two weekly markets in Arles. On Wednesday, on the Boulevard Émile-Combes, and on Saturday on the Boulevard des Lices and Boulevard Georges-Clemenceau. The Saturday market is one of the biggest in the Provence, with over 2.5 km of stalls.